Payton, Buchanan unveiling highlights FCS Awards banquet

By CRAIG HALEY

STATS FCS Senior Editor

(STATS) - The top individual awards in the FCS will be handed out Friday night at the national banquet in Frisco, Texas.

Highlighting the STATS FCS Banquet and Presentation - held on the eve of the FCS Championship Game - are the announcements of the Walter Payton and Buck Buchanan awards for the 2017 national offensive and defensive players of the year, respectively. Also to be handed out are the Jerry Rice, Eddie Robinson and Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete awards.

The Payton Award, in its 31st year, is often called the Heisman of the FCS level. Sam Houston State quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe won top honors last year and is back in Frisco along with UC Davis wide receiver Keelan Doss and South Dakota quarterback Chris Streveler for this year's announcement.

Defensive ends Andrew Ankrah of defending FCS champ James Madison and Darius Jackson of Jacksonville State and Western Illinois linebacker Brett Taylor are up for the Buchanan Award, now in its 23rd year.

The winners of the three other awards were announced previously - Austin Peay coach Will Healy (STATS FCS Eddie Robinson Award for national coach of the year), Kennesaw State linebacker Bryson Armstrong (STATS FCS Jerry Rice Award for national freshman player of the year) and South Dakota State wide receiver Jake Wieneke (STATS FCS Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete Award).

Former Northwestern State and NFL linebacker Gary Reasons will serve as the master of ceremonies. Scheduled awards presenters are football legend Jerry Rice; former NFL running back Jarrett Payton, the son of Walter Payton; former Grambling State and NFL cornerback Everson Walls; Sam Houston State coach and 2016 Eddie Robinson Award winner K.C. Keeler; and Grambling State defensive assistant Quentin Burrell, great-grandson of Eddie and Doris Robinson.

"It's like a homecoming," said Brian Orefice, STATS' director of news and data. "And there's nothing more rewarding to us than seeing those who we've built relationships with while covering this beat, and honoring the best of the best every season."

A national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries voted on the four longstanding FCS awards. The Doris Robinson Award, in its third year, is selected from nominations by the 13 FCS conferences.

Updated January 5, 2018

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